Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Wedding, the Turkish way

12.00 We meet by the statue at Taksim Square. My friend is smoking a cigarette. It is far chillier than in Amsterdam. When we hop into the taxi, he smirks:"Have you been to a Turkish wedding before?"

12.10. We realise that we are 50 minutes too early at the wedding hall. New couples are married every 20-30 minutes. A ceremony is just about to end and I hear the cheesy song Bryan Adams did for some movie. The couple is sitting on stage in a press conference sort of setting. We head to the nearby cafe for a cup of tea. The name of the mayor is on all the windows and his brochures have been carefully divided to all tables. In the brochure he shakes hands with elderly people and lists his achievements.

13.00 The ceremony starts. The couple and their witnesses enter the stage and sit down. Count Dracula sort-of-guy comes in and shakes hands. The couple state their names to the microphones, both answer "Evet" (Yes) to a question. After signing the agreement it is over. 4 minutes.

13.10. We stand in line to shake hands and hug the couple. Most people give gold coins. My friends break a tradition by not letting the guests pin the gold on the bride. A gigantic photomachine prints pictures for the guests two metres from the couple. The bride and groom look happy but the bride confesses that she is a bit cold.

14.30 We stand in front of a military base gate. The dinner is about to start inside but some men are not let in due to their long hair. One wedding guest has a major cut in his face because he learned only few moments before that he has to shave in order to get into the military area. The guard suggests to escort the long-haired guests to the barber shop. The wind from Bosphorus is too much for the Californian musician and his skimpy thin coat.

15.00 We start eating. The waiters address all male guests as commandants. We laugh a lot. The food is fabulous. Bride and groom mingle among the guests. No speeches are held. A house band plays around the corner evergreens with a Turkish twist.

21.30 I meet the married couple at a nearby mosque and we head to the evening party. One of Turkey's most popular bands is playing one floor up from our party. We stick to our folk and Efes beer.

00.00 American-Spanish Brazzaville assisted by Turkish bass player start playing. The singer David dedicates songs to the couple.

01.30 The groom - couraged by a big group of friends and few Efes - gets on stage with his musician friends and sings two-three songs to the bride. A girl next to me turns to me and says:"I hope they know how they lucky they are to have each other."

Sunday 13.30: I meet the couple in a cafe in Tunel. I look at them. They had a long evening. But I am convinced that they know how lucky they are. It makes me smile.

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